Palmetto State Armory Long Range Rifles – .224 Valkyrie & 6.5 Creedmoor

The new Palmetto State Armory .224 Valkyrie (bottom) and PA-65 6.5m Creedmoor (top) rifles.
The new Palmetto State Armory .224 Valkyrie (bottom) and PA-65 6.5m Creedmoor (top) rifles.

U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- In Long-Range AR Rifle Options: 6.5mm Creedmoor and .224 Valkyrie we talked about two great long-range cartridges for use in the AR-15 and AR-10 platforms. That was the theoretical part. Now it’s time to take a real-world look at both.

What better way to do that than with a pair of matching rifles? The Palmetto State Armory .224 Valkyrie is built on the company’s AR-15 lower receiver platform while the Palmetto State Armory PA-65 is a 6.5mm Creedmoor offering on their AR-10 chassis. Most everything else on the two rifles shares the same material specs. Of course, the bolt carrier group, magazines, and upper receivers are sized for their individual AR-10 and AR-15 platforms.

Both rifles use 20-inch barrel and rifle-length gas systems, both of which are entirely appropriate for their intended longer-range use. The barrels are a heavy profile and made of 416R Stainless Steel. Both measure 0.74 inches in diameter on the outside, so the only difference is the hole. The .224 Valkyrie features a 1:7-inch twist rate while the 6.5mm Creedmoor uses 1:8. Both are capped with an A2-style flash hider, but those came off almost before I got the rifles out of their respective boxes because these rifles just begged for suppressors. On the Valkyrie, I used a SilencerCo Saker 556 and on the Creedmoor a SilencerCo Specwar 762. There, much better.

Both rifles included an upgraded trigger group. Pull weight was four pounds or less and the tw-stage action was grit-free and crisp.
Both rifles included an upgraded trigger group. Pull weight was four pounds or less and the tw-stage action was grit-free and crisp.

The triggers on both rifles are two-stage Nickel Boron assemblies branded by PSA. The first thing I did was get out my trigger scale to check out the actual weights. Sure enough, the first-stage take-up for both triggers matched the factory spec of 1.75 pounds. Going through the second stage to the break required 3.75 pounds on the Valkyrie rifle and precisely four pounds on the 6.5mm Creedmoor. This trigger kit is offered separately by PSA for about a hundred bucks, so it’s a nice inclusion in the base rifles.

The hand guards use short rail segments front and back with a smooth surface in between. M-LOK is everywhere else.
The hand guards use short rail segments front and back with a smooth surface in between. M-LOK is everywhere else.

The upper receivers both use the Palmetto State Armory 15-inch M-LOK handguards to surround the free-floated barrel. I really like these. They’re simple and offer M-LOK slots all the way down at the three, six, and nine o’clock positions. The top has a three-inch rail segment that extends the receiver rail and a 2 ¼-inch segment up front for a backup iron sight. In between, there is no rail, and the profile scoops down. Not only does that save some weight and provide a better grip surface, but it also allowed me to mount a scope with a big 50mm objective lens without resorting to tall rings.

The Valkyrie rifle comes with a 30-round 6.8 SPC magazine as that’s the correct type for this caliber. The PA-65 ships with a 20-round 7.62x51PMAG. The furniture is all upgraded over the standard stuff with black Magpul MOE pistol grips and black Magpul CRT six-position adjustable stocks. The CTR is the model with dual water-resistant battery/parts tubes alongside the comb, a rubber butt pad, and a locking mechanism to prevent inadvertent slippage of your length of pull preference.

I was able to test both rifles at 100, 300, 600, and 800 yards.
I was able to test both rifles at 100, 300, 600, and 800 yards.

Step one for testing these two rifles at my local 800-yard range was getting good velocity readings. I fired multiple rounds of each ammo type through each rifle to get an average reading and came up with the following.

  • Federal Gold Medal .224 Valkyrie 90-grain: 2,596.5 fps
  • Sig Sauer OTM 6.5mm Creedmoor 140-grain: 2,471.0 fos
  • Hornady Precision Hunter ELD-X 6.5mm Creedmoor 143-grain: 2,566.0 fps
  • Match ELD 6.5mm Creedmoor 147-grain: 2,617.5 fps
  • Match ELD 6.5mm Creedmoor 140-grain: 2,593.0 fps
The best performance with the 6.5mm Creedmoor rifle came from the Hornady Precision Hunter ELD-X 143-grain loads.
The best performance with the 6.5mm Creedmoor rifle came from the Hornady Precision Hunter ELD-X 143-grain loads.

Next up was zeroing at 100 yards and getting a feel for the accuracy of each load. I fired five-shot groups and measured the widest diameter, center to center. I should note that I did follow the factory’s recommended break-in procedure with both rifles on a previous outing. That calls for cleaning between each of the first five shots, then after each subsequent five shots for the next 50. That was tedious, but at least I got to shoot.

  • Federal Gold Medal .224 Valkyrie 90-grain: 1.35”
  • Sig Sauer OTM 6.5mm Creedmoor 140-grain: 1.1”
  • Hornady Precision Hunter ELD-X 6.5mm Creedmoor 143-grain: 0.9”
  • Match ELD 6.5mm Creedmoor 140-grain: 1.7”
  • Match ELD 6.5mm Creedmoor 147-grain: 1.7”

With a good zero, current weather conditions from my Kestrel meter and Ballistics AE app, and actual velocity, I could now start doing the math to figure out trajectory adjustments for steel targets at 300, 600, and 800 yards down range. Since I tested multiple loads for the 6.5mm Creedmoor, I chose the top performer at 100 yards for the longer-range shooting. Interestingly that turned out to be the Hornady Precision Hunter ELD-X 143-grain load.

With a 100-yard zero, there’s not much adjustment required for either rifle to shoot 300-yard targets. The 6.5mm Creedmoor had a predicted drop of 12.61 inches and a scope adjustment of 4.01 minutes of angle. No problem! That’s a chip shot.

My actual group landed maybe one-inch high at 300-yards when I adjusted for an even four minutes of angle. If I was really motivated to achieve perfection, I could have dropped back one click, or a quarter of a minute, on the Burris XTR scope and I would have been about dead on because a minute of angle is 3.141 inches at that distance, so a quarter MOA (one click) adjustment would lower the group by about .78 inches. At the same 300-yard distance, the math predicted a 15.29-inch drop and 4.87-inch scope adjustment. I dialed it to 4 ¾, called it close enough, and the impacts were dead on target.

Both rifles features heavy stainless steel barrels.
Both rifles features heavy stainless steel barrels.

Moving out to 600 yards, things got more interesting. The 6.5mm Creedmoor has a projected drop of 89.03 inches and scope adjustment of 14.17 minutes of angle. The actual turned out to be pretty close. A 14.5 minute of angle scope adjustment was right on target. The Valkyrie was supposed to drop 89.7 inches and require 14.3 minutes of angle adjustment. In reality, I had to dial in 15.5 minutes to get right on target. That’s not a reflection on the rifle or ammo, but more likely the calibration of the scope at higher adjustment settings. If 15.5 minutes of clicks don’t exactly equal 15.5 minutes of adjustment, you’ll be off a bit. That’s why it’s so important to test your loads at various distances rather than assuming the math will be right.

At 800-yards the Valkyrie should drop 194.6 inches and require 23.2 MOA of adjustment. My actual adjustment to get perfect hits was 24 minutes even. The 6.5mm Creedmoor almost exactly matches the Valkyrie at this range with a drop of 190.73 inches which translates to 22.77 minutes of angle.

600-yard groups with both rifles were impressive and all less than six inches.
600-yard groups with both rifles were impressive and all less than six inches.

One interesting thing to note was that group sizes held and maybe even shrank proportionally at the longer distances. There was little wind the day I was shooting, maybe two to four miles per hour from the eleven o’clock position so I didn’t have to adjust for wind drift. What I noticed was that the 600-yard groups were mostly in the 4.5-inch range for both types of ammo. None exceed six inches as I would have expected given the 100-yard results.

The Bottom Line

Solid long-range performance doesn’t require expensive bolt-action competition rifles. You can get good results into the four-digit yardage range with standard AR-15 and AR-10 platforms. As for affordability, one of the reasons we chose this match set of Palmetto State Armory rifles is the price point. As I write this, the .224 Valkyrie is priced at $699.99 and the 6.5 Creedmoor at $799.99.


About Tom McHaleTom McHale

Tom McHale is the author of the Practical Guides book series that guides new and experienced shooters alike in a fun, approachable, and practical way. His books are available in print and eBook format on Amazon. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

  • 28 thoughts on “Palmetto State Armory Long Range Rifles – .224 Valkyrie & 6.5 Creedmoor

    1. FRIENDS THE .224 VA, and 6.5 Creed are not the same at all. Not even close. Two cartridges for very different work. Took long range whitetail last fall at 540 yards with Creedmoor and 140 grain . Shoot 224 now re several reviews uo coming, and published. Nice little cartridge, but no big game round beyond say 300 yards with a heavy bullet ( 88 gr Hornady ELD Match ) Also watch bullet placement. It matters.

      FYI
      The Mgm’t.

      1. Nope. The 6.5 PRC is the short mag version of the 6.5 creed. The cartridge got its start with GA Precision as the 6.5 GAP and then we reintroduced as the PRC. There are a ton of issues with 6.5 PRC currently that doesn’t make it viable IMO.

    2. I have bought many ,many items from PSA. I think we are very lucky to have such a fabulous co. so close that provides such awsome products. I will continue to buy any and if possible all my firearm needs. The service does need some improvements from time to time but i think i could pick something negative about any supplier. I hope they continue to be a leader in the outdoor industry. Popeye.

      1. I have purchased several items from PSA also and haven’t had any problems with any of it. Since they are only an hour away from me and have several stores within an hour or so from me , I intend on making more buys from them . My next buy will be one of these very guns , but I can’t decide on 6.5 CR. or .224 Val yet . If any of you guys could help with my decision I would appreciate the advice. Thank You PSA for such great products. Thank you Tom for a great article !

        1. Unless you’re made of money simply look at the cost difference in ammo, 224 Match King vs 6.5 Creedmoor Match King. 6.5 will leave you in the poor house :). 90 gr. 224 Valkyrie is dirt cheap in comparison.

        2. I just got back from the range today. Faxon 5R .224 gunner barrel shot Fed 75gr. Loved it! Groups were very nice at 100 yrds and I never shoot 4 groups! Shoots flat out to 400 yrds. Nxt stop my 600 yrd range and then 1000! Get the 224 Val and bee very happy and be able to take wife, girl friend and kids out to dinner! Also you can just use your fav 15 lower!

          1. Thank you vanns and john . you guys just helped me to make up my mind. I have decided to go with the .224 on the simple fact : john said , I am not made of money nor do I have very much , so I am gonna shoot something I can afford. I have done some research and it looks like they are very close anyway and I only have to get an upper. Thanks for the input guys, I really do appreciate it. It is so hard to get an honest or decent opinion these days without so much feedback !

    3. What’s the big deal about either caliber? They do nothing better then old calibers like the 308 or 30-06 or7mag in fact they are slower then these …so what’s all the hipe about either and 30 cals have a lot more nock down power and have a much better bullet selection,you can not get 220 grain for those calibers and the little bit of weight saved on the lighter guns is nothing I would rather have a little weight to keep my rifle steady

      1. They come in a lighter weight less recoiling AR platform and stay hyper way beyond the 06 or 308. There is no such thing as lockdown power.
        The 220gr is great for bear or moose but that’s bout it. These are better at deer and coyote.

      2. None of the calibers you mentioned are stabile at the ranges of these two. That’s because all of your favorites fall out of super sonic before either of those two. 224 Valkyrie stays super sonic to 1300 yards and is accurate to one mile. It IS an extreme long distance round at a very affordable price. Are there others, yes. 338 Lapua is another great long distance round but at a price of approximately $3.75+ per round. 224 Valkyrie in 90gr Match King is $1.06 per round. For someone who wants to shoot 1000 yds to way on out there this is a great way to go plus you won’t be beat to hell with recoil.

      3. They shoot at longer ranges FAR better than those calibers. As indicated by the title of the article, they’re all about long range shooting.

    4. Still say 260 will do what ever the creedmoor will do, you just don’t have the next greatest an a long name to go with it. I haven’t tried any heavy bullets in my 22-250 yet, but it might be fun just to play around with it. Either 250 or Valkyrie be alright out to 600 but after that just paper puncher. Anybody shooting coyotes or ground hogs or prairie dogs,I would like to hear how they do

      1. It will be a few years but I’ll let ya know when I’m dropping deer at extended ranges. Your wayyyy underestimating this

      2. I played around with the 22-250 and heavy bullets. You need a custom barrel if you go too heavy, The 22-250 normally has a 1-12 twist and once you get past 60 grain bullets it starts keyholing ‘

        1. I have an early Ruger,don’t know the twist,it does well with 55 gr vmax. I also have one on an ar platform,it has 1/14 does real good with 55 gr, heavy bullets never tried, but probably wouldn’t do very well. I think I will play around with the Ruger when I get feeling better.Back surgery didn’t go as planed.

          1. @DK, Sorry to hear about that surgery issue. Maybe this is an opportunity to explore old fashioned Bullseye shooting. you know, standing up straight, one handed, low recoil pistol shooting, and the mysteries of the Hammerli pistol world.

            1. When I shot Bullseye competition I had two pistols, a High Standard and a Ruger MK1. Still have the same Ruger MK1 and it still shoots just as well, can’t quite say the same for me! MK1 & MK11 were two of the best pistols ever and competed very favorably against others. They can be found on the used market for very competitive prices. Mine is a 5 1/2” bull barrel with low profile Bomar sights (shows how old I am).

          2. @doug yeah man that stinks. Maybe you can still squeeze out some long range bench shooting till you heal. That 224 doesn’t hit back to hard.

    5. Shut up and take my 224 money!!!!
      The 1/7 and 20” is fine for what I’m looking at doing. It should give me over what I’m wanting.

      1. If you’re going to do it why not check around, spend just a few bucks more and get a 24” barrel with 1/6 twist. Granted you may never shoot a mile but wouldn’t it be nice to know you have the rifle that’ll do it?

    6. Good informative article. I appreciate the details of the article. This helps me understand what real ballistics are for both calibers. I am looking for a new idea to build and this article helps me narrow my choice. Thank you.

    7. PSA is great but too long on out of stock kits for .224. Still no response after 2 e mail to their customer service department!

    8. The real difference comes in the price of the ammo AND when you start using the barrel (24”) and twist (1/6) that sets it up for extreme long distance, not to mention that the 224 stays super sonic to 1300 yds.

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